When I think of what I thought marriage would be like before I married, and what I’ve found it to be like afterward, it’s like night and day. It is SO DIFFERENT! And when I think of what I thought love was all about before our wedding and after the wedding, again, it’s SO DIFFERENT. I thought our love would grow even stronger in a “natural way.” I didn’t think it would be possible that it would go in a negative direction. I was wrong!
Love AFTER the Wedding
I thought my love for my husband would just grow and grow and grow in such a natural progression after we married. WRONG!!! It has grown, yes. But it hasn’t been a “natural progression.” It has grown because we have put intentionality into helping it to grow. We have been pro-active in building relationship bridges, rather than the walls that we can allow to build up between us because of our many differences.
I didn’t realize that we both had so many hidden differences going on between us. These are differences that could sabotage our relationship before we married. It’s not until those differences got bumped in various ways and revealed that they were there throughout the years we’ve been together, that I/we saw them. And then, oh boy! They sure can cause division, if we don’t look for ways to bridge our differences (and not let them pile up and choke out the good in our relationship).
And to this day —some 40 years and counting, we keep finding differences we have to bridge. And we do. But it sure is and has been a learning process.
I agree with something that Mark Gungor brings out in his Laughyourway.com article, “Automatic vs. Intentional.”
“I am a strong advocate for premarital education or coaching. Yet it’s impossible at that time for couples to really grasp all they need to know about this crazy thing called marriage. It’s like trying to explain advanced mathematics to a drunk sitting in a bar! He may say, ‘Oh, sure I understand your theories and what you are saying!’ But he actually has no clue and cannot possibly get it.
“That’s why pastors and marriage mentors need to shift from putting all of their eggs in the basket of premarital instruction. Three sessions prior to the wedding just isn’t effective. They need to put in place a system of checkpoints down the road when they get to the six month and one year marks. When the first child comes along or successive children join the brood, now you have the teaching moment. And now the information is going to be heard. I recommend a yearly check-in for the first five years of a marriage.
“That’s why it’s so important for couples to be part of a church. This is where you can do life together …not just have a moment. The wedding ceremony is a moment. But marriage is a lifetime and we need to be there to help young couples do life right. We need to help them make this transition from automatic to intentional.”
Amen… Amen… and AMEN! I couldn’t agree more.
My husband Steve and I believe that it’s important for couples to ask important questions to each other and to go in for premarital counseling and such. But then there are other important steps to take after the wedding. This is because that is when the reality of what a good marriage requires, truly hits home. Before the wedding, only some of the info is filtering through. This is because of the denial factor going on in the minds of those who are planning to marry.
Most everyone who enters into marriage thinks theirs is a love, which is different from anyone else’s. I remember how I thought my marriage would show others how “true love” works. Steve and I would show how naturally it can flow and grow when it’s real. How naïve can one be? I sure was. And I’m guessing that those of you who are married have found the “before and after” picture of marriage to be quite different too.
May those of us who are married, take the vows that we made seriously. And may we put effort and time into being pro-active in making our marriages the best they can be! May we become students of marriage, and students of our spouse. And with God’s help may we apply the wisdom, which we can glean from and apply! That’s my challenge to us ALL!
May men AND women, husbands and wives apply the following:
Wisdom from the Bible:
“The naive believes everything. But the prudent man considers his steps.” (Proverbs 14:15)
“How much better it is to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen above silver.” (Proverbs 16:16)
“A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel.” (Proverbs 1:5)
“By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established. And by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. A wise man has great power, and a man of knowledge increases strength.” (Proverbs 24:3-5)
“Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them.” (Proverbs 4:5)
Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this blog.
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